Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's a Writer?

If I had to choose a word to define myself, other than Christian, husband, and father, it would have to be "writer." The normal people among you would naturally assume I write for a living and, if fact, make a decent income from my chosen craft.

The writers among you know better.

I first decided to write a novel in 1997. I've completed three since. None published. I've had a few magazine articles published, even paid for two of them. But the dream has not yet been fulfilled. I admit, I've allowed myself to become discouraged and even given up for a year or so. During that time I watched several of my friends go on to be published. I'd be lying if I said I weren't a bit jealous. It's all part of the writing life. We simply can't understand why others get published while our own awe inspiring talent goes unnoticed. Never mind the fact that I haven't actually submitted anything in two years. That has nothing to with it, I'm sure.

Here's something I've learned along the way: if I'm feeling sorry for myself, my writing buddies are not going stop and wait for me to pull myself together. Writers aren't coaches. They're herd animals. Keep up and you'll get all the encouragement you need. Fall by the wayside and you're dinner for the lions. Only a fool would stop and wait for you, lest the lions get a double portion.

I hate New Year's resolutions. But I will resolve to re-acquire the tenacity I once held. The drive that made each minor victory a reason to celebrate, because the journey itself made the destination all the more desirable.

Tomorrow is my 43rd birthday. I'm in good health (lost 30lbs. in '09), still a pretty darn good writer, and I have the full support of my family. I'll write another novel, better than the last, and see where it goes. If it goes nowhere, I'll try again. After all, writing makes me a writer. Getting published or not doesn't change that.

The lions will have to sleep tonight.

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